The outbreak of HIV in southern Indiana’s Scott County has affected 130 people, according to the region’s health officials, bringing the number up by 24 since last week. One hundred twenty cases are now confirmed in addition to 10 preliminary positives.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of HIV cases reported this week, but we believe that is because we have been able to offer more testing with the help of additional staff from the CDC,” State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams said.

“This sharp increase in the number of HIV-positive cases demonstrates just how critical it is that we are able to locate and test people who have been exposed so that they can avoid spreading it to others and get medical treatment.”

Health authorities have identified the cause of the outbreak in drug users sharing needles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working in the region at the reuest of the Indiana State Department to help local authorities investigate the outbreak. The CDC is providing help testing and contacting people who potentially have been exposed to the disease.

The Scott County Health Department this week began a mobile needle exchange. The new service, as well as the “One-Stop Shop” created by executive order last month, will compliment the Scott County’s needle exchange program.

By Cheryl Bretton